Nfld. & Labrador

Coast Guard unveils new lifeboat which will help keep people on the water safe

The Canadian Coast Guard has some new toys, the kind that can save your life.

The vessel will be stationed in St. Anthony this fall

A new Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat the Pennant Bay will be based out of St. Anthony beginning this fall. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The Canadian Coast Guard has a new toy in town, the kind that can save your life.

On display in St. John's Wednesday morning was the brand-new, 62-foot, self-righting lifeboat the Pennant Bay, commanded by Aaron Coffin.

This comes as part of the federal government's $1.5 billion oceans protection plan initiative which will see the addition of seven new Coast Guard stations across Canada, three of which will be in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The Pennant Bay will be stationed in St. Anthony this fall.

"We're capable of withstanding hurricane force winds, seas up to 40 feet," Coffin said.

"The vessel can do up to 25 knots in ideal conditions." 

Coffin says if the vessel were to capsize, the stability of it will be able to turn itself back over, not to mention the long list of other safety capabilities.

"We can operate up to 120 nautical miles from shore, we're designed with tow winches, basically any long liner that breaks down within our range we can tow them into a safe port, or for general search and rescue operations as well," he said. 

Coast Guard conducts a training exercise outside St. John's harbour

4 years ago
Duration 2:34
Coast Guard were eager to test out some new equipment, and brought a CBC videographer along for the ride

The Pennant Bay will focus primarily on search and rescue efforts according to Coffin, but adds the the vessel and crew will assist with other areas if needed and permitted from the top brass.

Just the beginning

Neil Peet, the deputy superintendent for the Coast Guard's search and rescue Atlantic region says it's not just a boat but there are jobs coming with it.

"We're looking at 56 new jobs across Canada," Peet said, with the addition of six other identical vessels coming, two of which will be added to Newfoundland and Labrador waters in the future. One in Twillingate, the other in Old Perlican.

"This is the first bay class vessel for the Atlantic region," Coffin said, adding the Pennant Bay doesn't have a set date for service as of yet, but it will be sometime this fall. 

Aaron Coffin is the commanding officer of the new Pennant Bay Canadian Coast Guard vessel. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Four people will crew each vessel, with a commanding officer, two deckhands, and an engineer on board. 

"We're working on getting trained up ourselves, the vessel is ready to go," Coffin said.

"We're waiting for the base in St. Anthony to be finished to go on stand-by," where the facility will house four crew members on two week shift rotations.

With files from Here and Now

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